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  • © 2010

Japanese Mathematics in the Edo Period (1600-1868)

A study of the works of Seki Takakazu (?-1708) and Takebe Katahiro (1664-1739)



  • First academic publication devoted to Japan since the beginning of the 20th century

  • Provides substantial information on the historical and intellectual context of Japanese science

  • Substantial information on the mathematical contents of Seki Takakazu and Katebe Katahiro

  • Includes supplementary material:

Part of the book series: Science Networks. Historical Studies (SNHS, volume 40)

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 249.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

About this book

More than ?fteen years have passed since this book was published in French. Ideally this work, which originated from a doctoral thesis defended in 1990 at the University of Paris Diderot, should have been partially rewritten for the English edition, thereby incorporating the latest research results in its argumentation. But this was not the choice taken, since it would have delayed making this work, which brings together useful information for all those who are interested in wasan and eager to delve more deeply into its tradition, available to the English reader. Indeed, the special feature of this study is to present a high-level mathematical production while at the same time placing it in its historical context. This context here is Tokugawa Japan and, more speci?cally, the milieu of the scholars of samurai (warrior) origin. While explaining the indispensable social, economical and poli- cal background, we have not neglected mathematical analysis, since wasan reached its most beautiful results with the two mathematicians Seki Takakazu and Takebe Katahiro. Their works abound in lessons, not only for all those who are interested in the history of algebra and of analysis, but also in epistemological questions.


  • Calc
  • DEX
  • Edo Period
  • Japanese Mathematics
  • Mathematica
  • Shogun
  • algebra
  • calculus
  • development
  • form
  • information
  • mathematics
  • problem solving
  • techniques


“The book is an extremely attractive gateway into the historical questions surrounding the best-known period of wasan, one written from a modern methodological perspective. … I was delighted and impressed by this book and its contents, with so many points of contact with and development of traditional Chinese mathematical knowledge.” (Jiří Hudeček, East Asian, Science, Technology, and Medicine, Issue 37, 2014)

“The present volume is a very careful English translation of a book which has been first published in French in 1994. … readers will also get from these a visual apprehension of what Japanese mathematical texts physically looked like during the Edo period. Anyone interested in Japanese mathematics and its multifarious aspects … should first have recourse to this outstanding book in as much as his excellent critical apparatus open wide perspectives for future researches in such a domain.” (Jean-Claude Martzloff, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1206, 2011)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7 U.F.R. Langues et Civilisations de l'Asi, Paris, France

    Annick Horiuchi

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Japanese Mathematics in the Edo Period (1600-1868)

  • Book Subtitle: A study of the works of Seki Takakazu (?-1708) and Takebe Katahiro (1664-1739)

  • Authors: Annick Horiuchi

  • Series Title: Science Networks. Historical Studies

  • Publisher: Birkhäuser Basel

  • Copyright Information: Birkhäuser Basel 2010

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-7643-8744-0Published: 06 September 2010

  • Series ISSN: 1421-6329

  • Series E-ISSN: 2296-6080

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXVII, 350

  • Topics: History of Mathematical Sciences

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 249.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)